Vila Nova de Cerveira – the town of arts

It can be the perfect weekend escape to the charming town in the North of Portugal. It is situated about 100 km. north from Porto city, between the river Minho and the mountain. The river establishes the border with Spain and, thanks to the new bridge across the river, you can reach Spain in no time.

Today, the town is mainly known and visited due to the international biennale of art that started in the town in 1978. Usually, it starts at the beginning of August and goes until late September.

Besides the biennale of art, the town has lots of activities and art in public spaces, especially in the summer. For example, one year it had crochet all over the city, as you can see in the photos below. And it wasn’t even a year of the biennale. But there is more, concerts, parades, you name it.

Saturday is market day and the town tends to be crowded. You can hear a lot of Spanish because a lot of people come into town from the neighbouring country. On the 2nd Sunday of the month, you can find an antique market in the same place.

The kids will love Little Castle Leisure Park (“Parque de Lazer do Castelinho”). It includes a water park, an interpretive pond and the museum “Aquamuseu do rio Minho”. 

You can check here or on the municipality’s website for suggestions of activities.

Although the surroundings of the town are gorgeous, they don’t offer a lot of trekking options. Even the local Tourist Information Center doesn’t have a lot of information. Once we hiked from the town to the mountain where the statue of a deer is. Even though it’s an official path, it was badly signed, so we remained several times in doubt on the way to go.

The Santiago way (“Caminho de Santiago/Camiño de Santiago”) crosses the town if you don’t cross the river in Caminha by boat (only once a day, to our knowledge). The new bridge can be crossed on foot but the original route goes up to Valença and crosses to the neighbouring Tuy on the Spanish side through the old Eiffel train/car/pedestrian bridge.

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